TV Recap: Hell's Kitchen - 12 Chef's Compete

By Steve West 2009-08-11 21:24:05 discussion comments
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TV Recap: Hell's Kitchen - 12 Chef's Compete image
Tonight I was reminded why Hell’s Kitchen can be great entertainment. The problem is often that everyone on the show this season is playing within a similar mediocrity level. The enjoyment that comes from juxtaposing miserable failure with near perfection hasn't existed. The ladies were able to provide for our desire to watch the Christians get thrown to the lions. A good old fashioned massacre occurred here tonight. Food and cooking in general wasn’t done any positive service after the credits rolled this evening, but didn’t you finally feel the sadistic joy that normally comes with a Hell’s Kitchen viewing?

Is it odd to anyone else that this week the teams had to provide service for a welcome home party for a US Marine returning from a thirteen month tour in Iraq at the same time that G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra is number one at the box office? I didn’t think so, but the whole using the military heroes of the American armed forces cliché has got to be played out by now.

In any case the show starts with Suzanne and Robert tasked with meeting LaTasha, the wife of the returning Marine, to determine what he’d like at the surprise party. Anyone with half a brain could hear that the menu should consist of pivotal items such as grilled lobster, steak, and classic southern soul food. Robert returns to his team and clearly directs them on what he was told, and then allows them to go to work. He offers clarification and advice when needed, but he performed his job in about 2 minutes. Suzanne on the other hand kept trying to control every aspect of the dishes, going so far as to veto ideas that LaTasha stated would be desirable for her husband. Yes I question Tennille’s abilities, but no one has been more justified in being pissed off so far this season.

The challenge began with the appetizers. The women put up a Caesar salad with broiled prawns, a safe and comforting move. The guys went a bit riskier with a bouillabaisse, which LaTasha seemed to really like. The salad won easily. On to the first entrée with the ladies’ bacon wrapped tenderloin and grilled shrimp versus the men’s fried catfish with collard greens and 4 cheese baked macaroni and cheese. Men all the way on that most classic of southern dishes. Lastly the girls put up a broiled lobster with pasta (and everyone watching yelled, “You lose!”) and the guys did a NY strip steak with twice baked mashed potatoes and grilled lobster. The gentlemen took the challenge and went to fly in fighter planes. Meanwhile the ladies worked with chef Ramsay’s wife to decorate the dining room for the event the next night.

Dinner service began with the men telling the women about the menu, but in a shrewd maneuver only portions of the menu were detailed out. It began like any normal Hell’s Kitchen dinner, appetizers slowly started going out and then the women began to flounder. By the time the ladies finished with apps the guys were full swing into entrees. The NY Strip ended up being very popular and Jim sort of complained about having 9 steaks to cook. Please come back to me when you have 26 sirloins, 27 tenderloins, and 24 salmon to do in 2 hours. But that wasn’t the real problem in the kitchen as Kevin stepped in to back up the grill station when needed. No, it was over in the Red kitchen as Tek couldn’t accomplish the simple task of cooking 4 steaks. 4 simple little steaks. Not only could she not do it, but in this particular kitchen you simply mark on the grill and then throw the meat in the oven. I cook every steak to desired doneness on the grill each night. This should have been an easy task.

The guys actually finished all of their entrees as the women finished their first table, so chef Ramsay had the guys come over and take control. Dinner service ended with the men cooking everything and the women watching and tentatively asking if they could help out.

No one was good enough to be the “best of the worst” this week so chef Ramsay asked the girls to come to a consensus on who the two nominees should be. Ramsay asked Tennille to name the nominees, and obviously Tek was the first one up there. It turns out that Tennille was the second nominee, a choice I couldn’t really get behind. She defended herself saying she didn’t deserve to be on the block this week, telling chef that it should be Amanda on the block.

Ramsay agreed that Tennille didn’t deserve to be up tonight and sent her back. Then Tek said something about caring and not wanting to leave Hell’s Kitchen a failure. Well, unless you win you always leave the show as a failure. Amanda cried and for a moment I thought chef Ramsay would eliminate her because he didn’t see anything left there. I agree, but there’s no way anyone but Tek deserved to leave this week. In the end Amanda got another shot and Tek was sent packing.
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